You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Panthers centre Stephen Crichton.

It's hard to believe Stephen Crichton's humble claim that he wasn't always a natural tryscorer given the Panthers centre has crossed seven times in his past five games.

"Only this year. The coaches just want the ball in my hands more often," Crichton told

"Once I get the ball in my hands, that's the one thing I'm looking for: to get through. Or to get a fast play-the-ball for our next play."

But the 19-year-old, whose haul of nine tries this season has him just a couple behind front-runner Maika Sivo and Sione Katoa, also bagged four-pointers for fun in the lower grades last year.

He notched 10 in eight Jersey Flegg Cup matches and five in seven Canterbury Cup appearances before making his NRL debut.

Still, he puts his rich 2020 form down to the men around him.

"It helps having good service [from] players to get us the ball at the right time," Crichton said.

"They do their job, I do mine. I just try to finish it off. Full credit to Nathan [Cleary] and Jarome [Luai] and it helps having Kiks [Viliame Kikau] on my inside too."

Titans v Panthers - Round 11

Crichton and barnstorming second-rower Kikau have formed a lethal combination on Penrith's left edge.

The tall, athletic duo have become ideal targets for halfback Cleary's pinpoint bombs.

Crichton soared high to tap the ball for Luai to open the scoring in last Sunday's win over North Queensland.

"It just depends on where the ball's going. If I'm already over the line, I'll probably try and catch it," Crichton said.

"If I'm going infield or if I know the [opposition] winger is coming in to try and catch with me, I try and bat it back because then he'll be out of position for Sauce [Josh Mansour] or Jarome to score."

Crichton, who began the year as an interchange fullback but forced his way into the starting team, said centre is his preferred position.

He played fullback last week when Dylan Edwards was hurt but will stay on the edge against the Titans on Sunday.

"[Assistant coach] Trent Barrett tried to make me a utility out the back just in case something happens like [when] Dyl went down," he said.

The halfway mark: Try of the year

The mood out Penrith way is buoyant with the team firmly entrenched in the top four at the halfway mark. Crichton said "organisation" has been key to their success.

"It's a heaps good vibe. A lot of younger boys around the club, like Spencer [Leniu], are starting to play more games too," he said.

"I've grown up with Spencer so I'm pretty much with him, Romey [Luai] and Brian [To'o]. All the boys are mad to vibe with. They seem older but everyone's mature as well."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners